1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

An Auld Fifeshire Ploughman, "On the Death of Robert Burns" The Telegraph (16 September 1796).



What's this I hear? sure Death's gane dortet,
Wi eild gane daes'd an' caperknoitet,
That he wi' deadly scythe ha stoitet
To shire o' Ayr,
An' snedet doun, or ere he ripet,
Auld Allie's heir.

Wanwordy, girnin, doefart Death,
What gart ye dersly stap his breath?
Was't his loud fame rous'd up ye're wrath,
Or the auld plea
O' sin, that nane upo the earth
But RAB be't die.

Gin killing sinners be your wark,
The court, camp, conclave was your mark,
There ye might, eident i' the dark,
Done usefu' turns;
An' spar'd the Muses precious ark,
Poor RABIE BURNS.

But weel RAB kend (let's grieve the less),
His Country's wrangs were past redress,
Fell Poortith's maugre paw did press,
An' nip him hard,
An' crabbed Bills the Muse repress
O' th' peerless Bard.

Whan Scotia's sons, wi' hearts o' stane,
Can reckless those their Freedom tane,
An' Patriots' doom seal wi' Amen,
Wha'd shameless grudge,
To steek his e'en frae sic a scene
I' RAB'S dark lodge?

Yet RABIE'S fame is eithly spread,
Syne he i' the cauld eard was laid—
Saft be his sleep, in's lanely bed,
Till the last trump
The summons gie, wi' ither dead,
To gar him jump.

His manly Muse, sublimely strang,
Disdain'd to loot to venal sang,
But folly lash'd, an' knav'ry dang
Wi' skilfu' turns:
Few chiels were foun' cou'd bide the bang,
O RABIE BURNS.

Ye feckless Few, wi' back at wa',
O' Liberty wha mourn the fa',
Pu' up your hearts, an' crousely craw;
For at your urns,
Some future bard your fame sal blaw,
As erst did BURNS.